While it may initially appear daunting, especially for beginners, you can indeed improve your IELTS writing score quickly with the right approach and resources. This article explores how the IELTS exam is scored and identifies key areas to focus on to meet these criteria.
Throughout your preparation journey, the use of IELTS preparation materials, IELTS material for writing, and various other IELTS learning materials can be instrumental in achieving your desired score.
Understanding the IELTS Scoring Criteria
IELTS writing scores are evaluated based on four distinct criteria. Each of these categories contributes 25% to your overall writing score.
Task achievement and task response
Writing Task 1 for Academic:
In Writing Task 1 for the IELTS Academic exam, you are presented with a graph, chart, diagram, or table and asked to summarize, describe, or explain the information in your own words. To excel in Task Achievement for this section, you must first ensure that you understand the data or diagram presented thoroughly. This involves identifying key features, trends, or stages in a process, depending on what you’re given.
For example, if you’re given a bar chart comparing the average monthly rainfall in various cities, you should note the highest and lowest levels, any remarkable differences, and any common patterns.
IELTS Preparation materials for writing often include practice tasks with model answers. By studying these, you can learn how to effectively interpret different types of data and structure your response.
Writing Task 1 for General Training
In the IELTS General Training test, Writing Task 1 involves writing a letter (formal, semi-formal, or informal) in response to a given situation. Task Achievement here requires you to understand the tone and content appropriate for the given scenario. For example, if you’re asked to write a letter to a friend about a recent trip, your writing should be personal and relaxed. If you’re writing to a company to complain about a product, your language should be polite and formal.
Writing Task 2
In Writing Task 2, both the Academic and General Training versions require you to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem. Understanding the question is crucial. Pay close attention to the task words (‘discuss’, ‘argue’, ‘compare’, etc.) and ensure you do what they ask.
Coherence and Cohesion
Coherence refers to the clarity and logic of your ideas. Cohesion refers to the connections between phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. Cohesion makes your writing “stick together” and flow smoothly. Here’s how you can improve cohesion:
Use Linking Words:
Also known as transitional words or conjunctions, these words help connect your ideas. Examples include ‘however’, ‘therefore’, ‘in addition’, ‘on the other hand’, and so forth.
Refer Back to Previous Ideas:
Use pronouns (‘it’, ‘they’, ‘this’, ‘those’) and synonyms to refer back to previously mentioned ideas. This technique helps connect your sentences and maintain flow.
Use Paragraphing Effectively:
Start a new paragraph when you introduce a new idea or point. This makes it easier for the reader to follow your thoughts and see the connections between them.
Use IELTS learning materials to practice writing. Try to incorporate these tips and then review your work, looking specifically for coherence and cohesion.
Grammatical Range and Accuracy:
To score highly in this area, you need to demonstrate an ability to use a variety of complex grammatical structures.
Correct Tense Usage:
Understanding and correctly using different tenses is fundamental. Ensure you use the correct tense for the situation you are describing. For example, when describing an action that took place in the past, use the past tense: “I went to the cinema last night.”
Gerunds and Infinitives:
Learn when to use gerunds (the ‘-ing’ form of a verb) and infinitives (the ‘to + verb’ form). For instance, after certain verbs like ‘enjoy’, ‘miss’, or ‘suggest’, we use gerunds: “I enjoy reading novels.” For verbs like ‘decide’, ‘want’, ‘plan’, we use infinitives: “I decided to take the IELTS test.”
Modals (could, should, might, etc.) express a variety of conditions such as possibility, probability, permission, obligation, etc. They should be used correctly to express these nuances. For example, “Students must submit their assignments on time,” here ‘must’ expresses obligation.
Use of passive voice can make your language sound more formal and objective, which is particularly useful for IELTS Writing Task 2 and the Academic Writing Task 1.
Conditional sentences express hypothetical circumstances and their potential outcomes. They can add depth to your language. For example, “If I had enough money, I would travel the world.”
Use a mix of simple, compound, and complex sentences to show your ability to express ideas of varying complexity. A complex sentence might look like this: “Although I enjoy reading, I often struggle to find the time because of my busy schedule.”
Ensure the subject and verb in your sentences agree (in number and person). This means if your subject is singular, your verb must also be singular.
Enhance your vocabulary by reading widely and noting down useful phrases and less common words. Regularly revise these words and try to use them in your practice tasks. Using IELTS preparation materials can provide you with ample vocabulary exercises.
So, can a beginner improve their IELTS writing score quickly? Absolutely. With a clear understanding of the IELTS scoring criteria and a targeted approach to improving key areas, significant improvement can be achieved. Leveraging IELTS preparation materials, IELTS material for writing, and a variety of IELTS learning materials can fast-track your progress, ensuring you’re well prepared for success on test day.